Physical Types in Art from Thera

A Fisherman from Thera, c. 1550BC (click to enlarge). Mediterranean Racial Type

Boxing Children, c. 1550BC (click to enlarge). Mediterranean Racial Types.

The island of Thera in the Cyclades was home to a brilliant civilization, akin to that of Minoan Crete. This came to and end abruptly, when the volcano of the island Thera erupted in the middle of the second millennium BC. As a result, a great part of the island was submerged under the sea. It is fortunate though, that as is the case for Pompeii, a large number of murals and artworks have been preserved in the layers of volcanic ash that covered the city of Akrotiri. It is estimated that the complete excavation of the site, started by Spyros Marinatos in th 1960s, will take decades to complete.

A Theran Lady, c. 1550BC (click to enlarge). Mediterranean Racial Type

The anthropological type of the inhabitants of Thera is well-known. The slender, vivid physique of the islanders, the prominent straight nose, dark hair, eyes and eyebrows live little doubt that, as in Crete, the predominant racial element in Thera was the Mediterranean one, as shown in the examples that follow, taken from Spyridon Marinatos, Excavation at Thera, vol. II-VII, Bibliotheke tes en Athenais Archaiologikes Hetaireias, 1967-1973: